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Obsidian Belicoso

31 Oct

Synopsis:
Blender: Flores y Rodriguez
Maker: PDR Cigars
Filler: Nicaraguan/ Dominican
Binder: Dominican
Wrapper: Brazilian Habano Ligero
Flavors: Dark chocolate, cappuccino, earth, peppers
Draw/Volume/Strength:
0 / +2 / 4
Rating: 8.9

This review of the Obsidian Belicoso is presented courtesy of Stogie Boys, America’s fastest growing online cigar retailer.

It’s Halloween time, and for the Cigar Sasquatch, it’s one of the best times of the year. I love this season. Halloween (or for adults, the Weekend before Halloween) is the one time of the year when we can forget who we are and be who we want, whether it’s a pirate, Indian, Viking, soldier, or for the ladies, sexy kitten, sexy nurse, sexy she-devil, sexy angel (you get the picture).

Photo of Obsidian Belicoso Cigar

Obsidian Belicoso (6½x52)

But more than that, Halloween is a time to remember childhood, a season to recall happy days when you and your friends and siblings could wander around the neighborhood and get free candy from your neighbors. It was a time of carving pumpkins and planning costumes with your friends and family, putting them together with your mom or dad, brothers or sisters, wearing funny clothes, eating yourself sick with candy, having as much fun as possible, and generally just being kids. And today, Halloween is a time full of nostalgia, of looking back, and longing for those carefree days of childhood.

Not everyone loves Halloween. Some say it’s born of evil influence and pagan ritual, or desensitizes kids to the influences of the occult. Others say it’s just not safe, citing car vs. pedestrian accidents and urban myths of poisoned candy. And some people, like my mom, just hate seeing people in masks. To them I say take heart! What we know as Halloween indeed has roots in pagan traditions and harvest festivals from the British Isles, but it was St. Patrick (yes, THAT St. Patrick) who tradition holds first pioneered the sanctification of pagan rituals and sacred sites, melding them with his Christian faith as a means of converting the pagans, such that to this day, Halloween has close ties to the Catholic celebrations of All Saints’ Day.

Here are a few other Halloween facts for you:

  • Trick-or-Treating has existed is one form or another since at least 1895 in Scotland, where it’s called “Guising.”
  • Early Halloween traditions involved the carving of lantern faces in hollowed-out turnips.
  • The carving of pumpkin lanterns is wholly American in origin, and predates the emergence of Halloween as a popular holiday; they were originally carved for traditional harvest festivals that occurred in the Fall.
  • The urban myths of poison, drugs, needles, or razor blades hidden in apples and candy date to the early 1960s, though to date there are no verifiable records of anyone being harmed by the random distribution of tainted candy.
  • There is one instance of a child being killed by poisoned candy, though it was by no means random. The killer was the boy’s father who was inspired by the myths, and perpetrated the act in an attempt to recover a life insurance claim. The man was executed.

As we get older, Halloween takes on new meaning, and for many BOTLs, it’s a perfect excuse to relax with good friends and a great cigar. One fine choice this season is Obsidian from Flores y Rodriguez, the makers of Pinar del Rio Cigars.

The complex multi-nation blend comes masked in a spooky two-tone black sheath that covers nearly two thirds of the cigar. It’s almost a shame, because the wrapper is a beautiful Brazilian Habano Ligero leaf. The sheath slides off easily to reveal a veinless leaf of a rich cocoa color. The balance of the blend includes Cuban-seed Nicaraguan and Dominican longfillers, and a Dominican Criollo 98 binder. I sampled the Belicoso (6½x52), a large torpedo with a beautiful oily sheen. The cigar is tightly rolled and firm, with a bouquet that smacks of fresh tobacco, with a rich cocoa scent to match the cocoa-hued wrapper.

The first impressions are intense dark chocolate, and rich, dark, roasted cappuccino flavors. The first inch also shows plenty of fresh tobacco and a round, nutty quality. It’s not at all spicy, but there is a complex, heavy, earthy background texture that delivers interesting depth. This is a robust cigar.

The draw from a ¼-inch cut of the torpedo tip is dead even (0), producing a hearty smoke volume (+2) of above-average strength (4). Regrettably, I had burn trouble from the very beginning on one of the three that I sampled. It attempted to canoe from the get-go, and a persistent effort was required to keep it on track throughout the first third of the smoke. Despite those difficulties, the ash is one of the whitest I’ve ever seen, and held up to well over an inch, even under heavy bombardment from my BernzOmatic torch.

Thankfully the burn sorted itself out in the second third, and settled down into a reasonable, self-correcting pace, continuing so through the end. The second half shows flavors of roasted peppers, though the roasted coffee and dark chocolate flavors remain quite stable. It smokes cool and slow to an inch and a half nub in about 80 minutes.

Despite the burn difficulties early on for one of the three, this is a delicious cigar, amply robust, but with nuance and subtlety in turn. Its combination of earthy textures and bold flavors makes it an appealing pair to a smoky single malt Scotch, or great over an evening cappuccino. I rate it 8.9.

Until next time, this is the Cigar Sasquatch saying, “Love what you smoke, and smoke what you love.”

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